Explore The Canyons
Palm Springs, California
When the thermostat plummets in the rest of the country, the desert is the place to be. Evenings can get nippy in Palm Springs, but November, when average daytime temps hover in the 70s, is the ideal time to visit.
Get out there
Indian Canyons (which comprises Palm, Andreas, and Murray canyons), just six miles from Palm Springs, is one of the best places to explore in the fall when the weather is more inviting. At 15 miles long, Palm Canyon is the largest, and hiking options range from moderate to strenuous. For a two-hour moderate trek, take Palm Canyon Trail down into one of the world's largest palm oases, then follow Victor Trail back out ($8 per person; indian-canyons.com). Closer to town, the Tahquitz Canyon Trail, a two-mile loop, leads to the 60-foot Tahquitz Falls. The path is sunny, rocky, and steep, but once you reach the top, you can rest in the shade of sycamore trees or soak your tired feet in the water before it tumbles into the canyon ($13; tahquitzcanyon.com).
If you prefer breezy rides to trekking, you should know that Palm Springs has excellent bike trails, too. Rent equipment at Big Wheel Tours (from $30 a day; bwbtours.com), then follow the well-marked trail system. The 10-mile citywide loop will take you through downtown Palm Springs, out toward Indian Canyons, and back.
Where to stay
For a taste of the city's retro-chic vibe, check into the Orbit In, a refurbished mid-century motel turned boutique hotel, complete with a saltwater pool and its poolside Boomerang Bar (rooms from $209; orbitin.com). The Viceroy Palm Springs served as a low-key yet glam retreat for Hollywood types when it opened in the 1930s- and it still does today, albeit with a distinctly hipper, sleeker style. The hotel's 68 guest rooms are set around three courtyards, each with its own swimming pool (rooms from $199; viceroypalmsprings.com).